The starting point for the state government's development policy activities is its clear commitment to the elementary values of Western constitutions - human dignity, democracy and the rule of law. The New Development Policy Priorities of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, which were adopted by the cabinet in December 2019, confirm that North Rhine-Westphalia works with its international partners in this spirit. The guiding principles of North Rhine-Westphalia's development policy are subsidiarity and self-determination. The new priorities place the state government's development policy work in the context of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). New emphases are set, above all, through the increased involvement of the private sector in development cooperation. The private sector is an important partner when it comes to imparting knowledge, advancing innovations and creating employment prospects. However, development policy commitment also depends above all on a lively, strong civil society. In this respect, North Rhine-Westphalia has an extraordinarily lively and diverse landscape. The state government wants to help ensure that this commitment to development policy continues to evolve in line with the times and also reaches social groups that are less aware of the international context of our political and economic order.
North Rhine-Westphalia maintains a wide range of international relations and is particularly committed to development policy in countries and regions to which it has special ties. In view of its limited resources, the state government sets regional priorities. Ghana has been the official partner country of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2007. The partnership agreement between the two countries is due to be renewed in 2021.
In close cooperation with the Düsseldorf office of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the state government implements development policy projects in Ghana, including in the field of environmental protection and resource conservation. Since 2019, the joint projects with GIZ have been geared toward the new priority area of "sustainable economic development." In addition, the state government is supporting the modernization of the technical college sector in Ghana and better networking between universities and business.
Since 2017, an administrative exchange has been taking place between Ghana and North Rhine-Westphalia; since 2019, the state has also been promoting a municipal exchange of expertise aimed at strengthening existing cooperation between cities and municipalities in both countries and supporting new partnerships.
Civil society engagement plays a key role in the partnership between North Rhine-Westphalia and Ghana, particularly the Ghana Forum as an association of civil society actors active in Ghana and the Ghana Council as an association of the diaspora. The state government supports initiatives in Ghana and other countries with its own funding programs, such as the "Concrete Peace Service", the "Promoter Program" and the "Foreign Program". Further information on the country partnership with Ghana.
The Concrete Peace Service is a support program for young adults from North Rhine-Westphalia. The program offers a travel allowance for a variety of project assignments lasting between 25 days and twelve weeks. The participants plan their stays abroad on their own and cooperate on an equal footing with organizations in the countries of the South. In addition, within the framework of the Concrete Peace Service, cooperations exist that enable young professionals, such as craftsmen and craftswomen or trainees in the nursing professions, to participate in a project abroad. A mutual exchange to strengthen civil society actors in the global South is also an integral part of the Concrete Peace Service.
With the program to promote development information and education (EpIB), the state supports the development education work of One World groups and non-governmental organizations in North Rhine-Westphalia. The aim is to raise awareness of global interdependencies among the people of North Rhine-Westphalia, to broaden knowledge of the situation in countries of the global South, to prevent xenophobia and to awaken in citizens a willingness to make their own contribution to fair global development.
The state government also supports development education work through the promoter program, which ensures a "basic supply" of civil society with expertise in this area. The program is implemented by One World organizations throughout North Rhine-Westphalia; its sponsors are the One World Network NRW and Engagement Global, North Rhine-Westphalia branch office (Düsseldorf). Further information can be found at: einewelt-promotorinnen.de.
In accordance with the development policy priorities of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, municipal development cooperation is also promoted. Municipalities can make a very concrete and essential contribution to development partnerships - for example, when it comes to raising awareness of development policy and international interrelationships, or when it comes to the fact that local action also has an impact on the global world and that globalization, in turn, has an impact on the local level. Municipal development partnerships build an important bridge here between the people of North Rhine-Westphalia and those in the partner communities.
With its foreign program, the state government supports development policy projects of non-governmental organizations from North Rhine-Westphalia. The program supports One World initiatives, associations, migrant organizations, church groups and others that work in cooperation with partner organizations in the Global South to sustainably improve local living conditions. The program focuses on education, health, environmental sustainability, sustainable business practices and job creation.
In the context of global refugee movements, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is also increasingly involved in the Middle East region - especially in Jordan. In order to improve the living conditions of refugees and the Jordanian population, projects are being implemented in various areas.
With grants, North Rhine-Westphalia supports a short-term scholarship for young people from Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan, as well as the trilateral master's program "European Studies" at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf.
With 23 United Nations (UN) organizations and around 170 internationally active non-governmental organizations, the federal city of Bonn is the most important UN location and has become the center of excellence for international cooperation and sustainable development in Germany. In addition, numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations, scientific and economic institutions, and companies are working together here under the motto "Shaping Sustainability" to find solutions to global issues of the 21st century.
The state government promotes the development of the UN site and Bonn's profile as a competence center for international politics and global sustainability strategies in close cooperation with the federal government and the city of Bonn. For example, it supports the establishment of new UN secretariats and other international organizations in Bonn. North Rhine-Westphalia has also launched a Host State Act to facilitate the settlement of international institutions in Germany, which was passed by the Bundestag in October 2019 and approved by the Bundesrat in November 2019. The state government also promotes the implementation of events and other projects at the international location of Bonn that help to advance the exchange on global sustainability issues. This also includes educational events on the implementation of Agenda 2030.